Monday, July 31, 2017


Wow. I can't believe it's the last day of July and, really, the end of summer. This week the kids and I will spend our annual lake week with our friends from Oklahoma to swim, play games, do some fun activities, and plan for our upcoming homeschool year. It will be strange only planning for one student as Brynne is just days away from re-entering public school.

We had a busy month with lots of little trips and some significant changes for our family. Here's a recap ...

Kyndal and I started the month with a less-than-24-hour-trip to Las Vegas to see our beloved Backstreet Boys in concert. It was amazing, as usual, and despite the utter exhaustion we had a great time together!

We had a fun 4th of July holiday with all of the kids at Farrington Park.

Brynne won 2nd place in the egg race.

Eli won 3rd place in the softball throw.

And Kyndal and Dawson ended up wet in the water balloon toss. Well, Kyndal ended up wet.

Collin's birthday is on the 4th of July so we celebrated him, as well.

Our family was forever changed when we attended our first ever annual conference with the National Stuttering Association. I have never seen Eli so happy in his life, and we have made a decision as a family to make this annual trip a priority. We had a great time in Dallas, met so many new friends, and will be attending in Chicago next year.

Dawson and Alyssa made the move to Dallas so that Alyssa can start school soon. They had a fun going away party at her parents' house, and we made the trip back to Owasso to celebrate with them.

There was lots of pool time.

And the next day we sent them off with lunch and some video game style laser tag.

I reached a milestone this month by running 5 straight miles without stopping to walk. I am training for a 10K in September, so this was an important run for me.

I also made the decision to take a part-time job as a circulation clerk at our local library. I will be working in the mornings (while Eli does independent work) and then homeschooling Eli and caring for Bennett in the afternoons. This will be the first time I have worked consistently outside the home in 15 years, so it is quite an adjustment. I trained last week and, so far, am absolutely loving my job! I was born to be a librarian. Age 45 is not too old to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.

Brynne attended volleyball camp at UCM, this year adding in a one-night resident camp.

Bennett had a big month as he started walking. He still prefers to crawl, because he can do that at lightening speed, but walking is now an option. He has also started saying some words ... ball, mama, more (when he wants a drink or food). He ended our month with a bang by winning first place in his division at a local fair's baby contest.

Here are all the proud grandmas!!

Then he turned around and just went ahead and won Grand Champion boy. He is one adorable dude!

Our month was just absolutely jam-packed! It was exhausting but lots of memories were made. August will have tons of highlights, too. But first, lake week ...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

I was close to my maternal grandmother, Grandma Alice. My paternal grandparents were pretty indifferent as to spending time with us. My memories of my Grandma Alice are fond. We spent the night at her house most every Saturday night. We watched Love Boat and Fantasy Island. We played Double Solitaire. She took us to Sunday school the next morning. Another very fond memory is eating fried chicken dinners at her house. We would all cram around her kitchen table in the kitchen while she served us and then she ate her dinner standing at the counter. She would never sit with us.

What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I had a blankie that I still have today. In fact, I use it to cover Bennett when he is taking a nap at my house.

When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Outside my window are big, beautiful oak and elm trees. They shade our entire house. Overall I would say that figuratively I am a forest girl. I can generally see the big picture and not get hung up on the details to get there. I try not to lose sight of the end goal.

Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed would you say is your favorite? grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats. Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list.

I do like sour candies, my favorite being the large chewy sweet tarts. My favorite sour food to eat is Greek yogurt. But, I love the scent of all things citrus, so lemons rank way up there. I have never eaten a kumquat. My favorite dish with one of the items is lemon bars. Yum!

July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

It is not what I expected, but I am excited for the new direction.

Insert your own random thought here.

School starts in a month. We have been so crazy busy this summer that I don't feel like we have had any chance to relax! We haven't been to the pool once! Brynne is finishing up the last of her sports camps this week, and I would think that would mean it was time to slow down. But we have our yearly lake trip scheduled for the first week of August and then a little overnight birthday trip for Brynne to St. Louis the next week. And then school starts! I really need to work on a calmer summer next year. I haven't even had much time to read.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I am literally sitting here at the dining room table in a dazed stupor after the busy couple of weeks we have had. I should have never sat down. So, I figured this was a great time to participate in this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge!

When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)

Oh my. My neighborhood. We live in a colorful one. I do not actually talk with very many of my neighbors unless it's to discuss the latest visit from the sheriff at the house down the street. On the 4th of July, though, while at the town's park festivities, I did talk with a sweet neighbor who lost her husband suddenly almost two years ago. She and her husband own the funeral home and are just wonderful people. She was widowed at too young an age with two teenage daughters and a young son. We discussed how she was doing, how she is coping with running the funeral home alone, how her oldest daughter has moved into the house across the street from us to help her run the business, and how she is handling solo parenting a precocious boy who misses his daddy.

River, lake, ocean, or waterfall ... which one are you most like and why?

Hmmmm .. I guess I would say a river. I just move along at a slow and winding pace, if not physically then mentally and emotionally. I took an online quiz that said I am a Lake. I am an independent thinker who enjoys their own company but am extremely welcoming when the time comes to open my home and surroundings to the people I care most about. I typically prefer to mind my own business and let others live their own lives in the way I wish to been control of my own. That's pretty accurate, actually.

July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called 'the first state' because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What's your state's nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your state?

I have not ever been to Delaware. Missouri is the Show Me State. It comes from a speech given by William Duncan Vandiver in 1899. He said, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me." The phrase is now used to describe the character of Missourians as being not gullible, but conservative and unwilling to believe without adequate evidence. Yeah, I don't know about all that. We are a pretty faith-filled state and seem to be strongly Republican these days. I feel like at least in this part of Missouri we trust in the sovereignty of God for the most part. But that's only speaking for myself. I would call us the Pioneer State because that gets to the root of who we are.

What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipes for pot luck suppers?

I usually make "party potatoes" which are basically instant mashed potatoes cooked with lots of butter, sour cream, and cream cheese and then baked. The last potluck I went to was on a day I played cards with some ladies and I brought a sweet potato cornbread.

What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?

No matter how tempted, or scared you are, put that baby in his or her bedroom the first night and keep him or her there. Do not sleep with the baby! Allow yourself to get some sleep without jumping up every time you hear the baby wiggle, grunt, toot or whimper. If he or she needs you, you will know it!

Insert your own random thought here.

This past week our family attended the National Stuttering Association annual conference in Dallas for the first time. I have so much I want to share but haven't been able to assimilate it all yet. All I do know is that Eli met others who stutter for the first time in his 13 years. He and Brynne attended teen workshops for three days, learned an invaluable amount of information, and made some life-long friends. Rick and I did the same. I have never seen Eli so happy in my life. What he took away from the conference is that his goal is not fluency but to be an effective speaker. In other words, he is allowed to be okay with being a person who stutters and to concentrate on just being the person he really is inside. In his words, he was so happy because he was with his "people". We have made a decision to attend the annual conference every year from now one. It was that life-changing. Next year: Chicago!